This viral’s gonna be HUGE I tell ya.

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Planning a viral hit is like picking the numbers for a winning lottery ticket. And anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar or trying to sell you a creative ad campaign. Many companies turn to desperate measures by latching on to successful product launches by spoofing them. For example, there have been a rash of spoofs of the famous Shamwow and Snuggie Blanket next commercials that have appeared for a myriad of companies on Youtube. Here”™s one that Colgate recently released. It”™s really not that funny and seems to be gratuitous. You”™d think that a big company like Colgate would have had the funds to hire a funny writer. Firstly, spoofing should be left to people who know funny, like Jimmy Kimmel or the folks at Jack Films just to name two. And even though you may get in front of a lot of people, if your content isn”™t great, your un-greatness will stick to your audience like gum to a shoe. They call it reputation marketing, and like it or not, your reputation is on the line every time you release content with your brand”™s name on it. Are marketers trying too hard? I think so. Successful viral videos aren”™t trying to give you a hard sell. The best ones come from ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Check out this wedding video which recently got over 12 million hits in less than a week. According to an article from The New York Times , this video “set to the Chris Brown song “Forever,” had sent sales of the year-old song skyrocketing to #4 on the iTunes chart and #3 on Amazon”™s MP3 store.” Did Chris Brown”™s people plan this? Highly unlikely.  Did the bride and groom have their sites set on becoming a Youtube phenomenon? I doubt it. But I bet that won”™t stop salivating marketing people from trying to convince you that their whacky videos will help you reach your marketing objectives.

Branding your company with micro blogging

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According to a recent New York Times article small businesses are utilizing micro blog technology like Twitter in lieu of advertising and marketing campaigns. According to the article, “small businesses typically get more than half of their customers through word of mouth, he said, and Twitter is the digital manifestation of that.” By microblogging, small businesses can broadcast deals and offers to loyal customers and those just interested in their business. Location based services like LA based Kogi and Coolhaus can tell their customers where they will be on any given summer day in the city of angels. I think the increase of small businesses is also due to the fact that business owners often don’t have time to think about marketing strategies; Twitter facilitates getting the word out. Plus, a business owner can tweet by phone app whilst ringing you up for that sushi sampler you just ordered. No need for fancy ad or flyer when you can tweet at your hearts content.

YouTube beefs up analytics tools for brandcasting online.

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In a recent announcement, Youtube is rolling out Youtube Insight a free reporting tool for users, advertisers and content partners who have a valid Youtube account. This interactive solution allows greater insight and information related to individual videos that are uploaded. This is good news for viral marketing and anyone trying to brand their company on Youtube. This analytics tool allows any Youtube account member to view data for any video in a slick interactive timeline and mapping format that’s intuitive and powerful. I like the fact that when you move the slider on the timeline, the information updates simultaneously on the map. Pretty cool. Statistic freaks will love that you can view data for total views, links and audience stats with the click of a button. As the creator or author of a video, you can also opt to hide this information from viewers if, say, you were launching an ad campaign and didn’t want your competition to see the results. But then again, why would you do that? Why not let your competition drool over how many hits you got and how your offline campaign boosted your viewership. Then again, if you aren’t confident that the masses will flock to your video, you may want to switch your vid to privacy mode by unchecking the button for “Make statistics and data for my videos plublicly visible by default” in the sharing and privacy section of your account information. To look under the hood and see all the bells and whistles, just click on “about this video” button under My Account > Videos, Favorites, Playlists > Manage my Videos. Happy brandcasting.

Social Marketing helps Whole Foods Market celebrate a million tweets.

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I love my Whole Foods Market. I love it so much, I even own shares of their stock (NasdaqGS: WFMI). When you think of Whole Foods, social media marketing isn’t one of the first things that come to mind; granola, organic, pricey, maybe”¦ but tweeting? According to a press release, Whole Foods Market plans on celebrating a million followers on Twitter by giving away a million grains of quinoa, an edible nutritional seed that you can find at your local Whole Foods Market.  To put it in perspective, the booty comes out to about five pounds of seed. And if that’s not enough, the lucky millionth follower will get a $50 gift certificate to spend on any wholesome product you can find in their stores. Whole Foods Market also announced giving away $50 gift cards and five pound lots of quinoa if followers tweeted five word philosophies like, “cooks do it with oil” or “you can’t beat organic meat” . Either way, I really don’t know what to think about mixing whole grain bread with branding your company. Granted, you have to hand it to the advertising department at Whole Foods Market for creating intelligent brand marketing that costs them next to peanuts, err, actually quinoa. But on the other hand it really makes me wonder if the whole Twitter thing is going too far with organic tweets. What do you think?